Drunk Driving Technology, ArrayRx, and more

October 6, 2023

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Dear Neighbor,

Over the past weeks, there have been many headlines in our region, from election concerns to school redistricting and transmission lines.  Today, I’d like to take some time to share information about an issue that impacts us every day – safety on our roadways.

As a veteran Transportation Committee member, bike/pedestrian safety advocate, and the parent of a new driver, I seek to improve the safety of our roadways for all users: motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, transit and rail riders, and now scooter and e-bike operators. Below is information about roadway safety, as well as information about how to weigh in on the proposed UI Transmission project, accessing the new Prescription Drug Discount program, ArrayRx, now available to all Connecticut residents, and some community events of interest.

Please reach out if you’d like to learn more about anything shared below.

New Drunk Driving Technology

Last Friday, Connecticut Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto joined Superintendent Testani, Fairfield Ludlowe High School students and teachers, town leaders, and community members to announce technology that will prevent drunk driving and save lives. In the announcement, the Department of Transportation shared that, “The Driven to Protect Initiative empowers states to end drunk driving by advancing lifesaving alcohol detection safety technology. The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program (DADSS) is a public–private partnership between the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the nonprofit Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) which represents the world's leading automobile manufacturers. The mission of DADSS is to bring to market a first-of-its-kind alcohol detection technology that will passively detect when a driver is intoxicated with a BAC at or above the legal limit and prevent the vehicle from moving. This program is sponsored by a grant through the Connecticut Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office.” The technology partnership will be in new vehicles some time between 2027 and 2030 thanks to federal legislation.

We were also joined by two Fairfield fathers who lost children to drunk drivers, including Fairfield Ludlowe parent, Stephen Panus. Their courageous sharing was a reminder of the tragic consequences of drunk and drugged driving. Connecticut now ranks third nationally for the highest percentage of traffic deaths caused by drunk drivers. We are trending in the wrong direction. Technology is one important tool, but it is not the only one. We can all work together to prevent drunk, drugged, and distracted driving. You can watch a story about Friday’s visit here.

Department of Transportation HQ Open House

On Tuesday, I joined fellow legislators for a visit to the DOT Headquarters in Newington. There we saw the highway operations center in action, spoke with engineers and department leaders, and exchanged ideas with fellow legislators. I was thrilled to talk with DOT officials about Safe Routes to School, Complete Streets, Roundabouts, Child Restraints (i.e. car seats and boosters), bus service expansion, and construction on the Rts 15, 691, and 91 interchange. Here are some of the facts DOT shared with us about some of these areas:

  • Complete Streets is a term that indicates roadways designed for all users.
  • Crashes involving pedestrians at 20 mph have a 5% fatality risk. At 40 mph that risk increases to 80%.
  • CT DOT has implemented a Complete Streets Controlling Design Criteria for projects after 9/1/23.
  • Converting signalized intersections to roundabouts results in reduction of up to 78% for severe crashes and 48% for overall crashes.
  • CT has a Safe Routes to School coordinator to help with safety, accessibility, and sustainability. One mile of walking each way is 2/3 of the daily recommended 60 minutes of physical activity.
  • Children 5 to 8 years old or weighing between 40-60 lbs. must use a booster or 5 point harness.
Bike Bus

I was thrilled to join the Stratfield School Bike Bus again this year. Thanks to organizer Anya Mezak, the Fairfield Police Department, and all of the parent volunteers who helped to make this happen. This is a tremendous opportunity for families to experience the benefit of those safe routes to school we hope to promote.

United Illuminating Project

This week, the Fairfield delegation and the First Selectwoman joined the United Illuminating for their meeting regarding the Transmission Line proposal. Hundreds of residents attended to weigh in and express concerns, frustration, and anger.

The proposal, titled Docket #516 with the Connecticut Siting Council, proposes replacing the existing 115-kV powerlines situated atop the catenary structures along the MetroNorth Railroad tracks, which are typically 60 to 80 feet above ground, with monopoles that range in height from 95 to 145 feet. The project must go through the Siting Council for approval. You can read the entire proposal of Docket #516

Representative Leeper, together with impacted neighbors, has led efforts to share information and push for input to the Siting Council. The entire delegation is working together with the town to assure that the voices of those impacted are heard. While there is a specific process to become an official intervenor with legal standing, all residents can weigh in by sending their comments to the Connecticut Siting Council, siting.council@ct.gov


This year, the Public Health Committee, together with the Comptroller and the Governor, passed legislation that will allow all Connecticut residents to access a free prescription drug discount card, ArrayRx. This program can save Connecticut residents up to 80% off certain prescriptions at nearly all pharmacies in the state. There's no cost, age restriction, or income restriction to join. To sign up, please click here.

For more information on ArrayRx, including a drug price lookup tool, visit arrayrxcard.com

Climate, Coffee, and Conversation

Many of you know Fairfielder Mary Hogue, our Sustainability, Forestry, Pollinator Pathway, and volunteer extraordinaire. In addition, she chairs the board of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV). Mary and the folks from CTLCV invite you to join the Fairfield legislative delegation on Sunday, October 15th at 12:30pm at the Fairfield Museum. We hope to see you there and hear your thoughts and ideas.

Mattress Recycling Event
This Saturday, October 14, Sustainable Fairfield is holding a town-wide mattress collection and recycling event at Veterans Park (909 Reef Road).

Any mattress can be brought for free as long as it is not damaged, heavily soiled, or posing other health or safety risks.

The event is open to all Connecticut residents. Stop by if you have an old mattress or box spring that you want to get rid of.

Please share this information with those who might find these resources and events helpful and of interest. You can also sign up for future e-mails. Have a wonderful weekend.


Cristin McCarthy Vahey


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